Black Man (by S.Esenin)
translated by Alexander Popugaev
 
Black Man

My friend, my friend
Im very and very ill now
I myself do not know where the pain has come from
If the wind has just whizzed
In the empty, deserted meadow
If the brains have been poured
With strong drinks, as an autumn grove mall

As a bird flaps the wings in the air,
My head flaps its ears;
From its neck legs dangle:
To dangle there is no might.
Black, Black Man
Black, black deadly.
Black Man.
By my bedside he appears
Black Man
Does not let me sleep all the night

Black Man.
Oer the vile book hes running his finger
And, snuffling over me,
Like a monk over a corpse,
Reading me the life,
Belonging to some scoundrel or heavy drinker,
Bringing sadness and fear to the soul and thoughts.
Black Man.
Black, black deadly.

Listen, listen, -
Hes mumbling to me -
The book has many luxurious
Plans and ideas.
What about that man,
He was born to live
In the land for the most
disgusting thugs and villains

In December that lands
snow is devilishly clean
And the blizzards start playing
Their joyous spinning.
Was that man an adventurer, but
The one of the highest
And best hallmark really.

Was he quite graceful,
a poet withal,
Not very strong,
Strong enough to punch heavily.
And some woman, who was
Above forty years old,
He would call both my nasty girl
And my darling tenderly.

Happiness, he would say, -
Is sleight of your mind and hands
Clumsy souls of losers
Shall be known in advance forever
T doesnt matter at all
That too many pangs
Are caused by the gestures of lie
Distorted in air

Blizzards, tempests,
And daily cold life,
Full of heavy bereavements,
Full of sadness, are running.
The only one art in the world stays high
It is the art to seem simple and smiling.

Black Man,
You dare not do this all.
Living like a diver
Is not up to you, is it?
I do not care of
The scandalous poet, youve told.
Tell others of his life.
And read them. Please me.

Black Man is looking
Point blank at me
And his eyes are being covered
With the bluish throw-up.
As though he would like to say
Im a thief
Who made someone
Impudently, shamelessly robbed up.

My friend, my friend
Im very and very ill now
I myself do not know where the pain has come from
If the wind has just whizzed
In the empty, deserted meadow
If the brains have been poured
With strong drinks, as an autumn grove mall

Its a frosty night.
Still and quiet is a crossroad.
Im alone by the window.
Expecting no guest and no friend.
All the surface is covered
With snowy soft friable coat
And, like riders, the trees have come
Into the garden to stand.

Theres
a nightly disastrous birds crying somewhere.
Wooden riders are sowing
the clatter of rubbed equine hooves.
Once again this black
Is sitting on my arm-chair,
After raising his top hat
And making his frock coat removed.

Listen, listen!-
hes mumbling while watching my face.
He himself is
Approaching still nearer.
I did not see that any
of scoundrels or knaves
Was so foolishly
Suffering from insomnia

Ah, lets think Im mistaken;
The moon is tonight.
So, what else
Does a worldly wight, drunken with drowsiness, need?
Maybe, stealthily, secretly
She will appear fat-thighed
And youll find for her
some of your dead, languid lyrics to read.

Ah, I really love poets,
How funny they are.
When I see them I always
Can find the same story, my heart knows well:
How a long-haired freak,
Bled and flooded with lust,
Tells a pimply schoolgirl
Of the worlds that exist, of the stars that fell.

I do not remember:
There was a boy,
In a village,
Perhaps, by Ryazan or
Kaluga.
He lived in a common peasant family.
Yellow-haired he was
And blue-eyed.

And he became mature,
a poet withal,
Not very strong,
Strong enough to punch heavily.
And some woman, who was
Above forty years old,
He would call both my nasty girl
And my darling tenderly.

Black Man, you are
A disgusting guest.
It is you about whom
The ill fame has spread around
I am frantic, enraged
And my cane, flung with strength,
Is in flight to his bridge
To break down

Died the crescent.
The window got blue for the dawn
Night!
Why have you applied your vigour?
There is no one with me;
With the top hat put on,
I am alone
By the shatter mirror
28.10.2010